Why is it so difficult to forgive? I’m sure there are a thousand different answers to that question. I, for one, am a justice driven protector. Wrong me, I’ll get over it. Wrong someone I care about and there’ll be hell to pay. We’ve all got our reasons. I propose that most of our reasons find at least a portion of their roots in selfishness. Not overt or blatant selfishness, but the kind that sits back and licks it’s wounds in disbelief that we weren’t enough to garner deference. And so, it’s simple, and justifiable, to grab hold of the wrong and say “I’m going to hold on to this and make you pay for it’s release!” Oh how we hold on to the hurt, anger, and shame. It’s almost laughable how much effort one can put into keeping the wound wide open for all to pity.
What would happen if you let it go? If you grasped the idea that the bitterness just isn’t worth holding onto. What if you set your wrongdoer free? What if doing so actually made you unexpectedly, and delightfully free? What if everyone in observance of such a choice had an example of radical love? Given the chance, what would you choose?
I chose. It was the hardest thing I’ve done to date, but I did it, and ya know what? It was so easy once the determination was made. I never knew. I’m proud of who I’m becoming, of who my kids have to look up to, of the gift of grace I have in my possession; of the mercy I am capable of extending. More than that, I’m thankful for a faith in a merciful God who didn’t have to do a thing for me, but did it anyway.
Here I am, making room for you in this mess, wondering why you would even want to enter my space. I bring nothing to the table but disillusionment, weariness, and the tiniest bit of faith that there’s some point to it all. I’m not sure I want anyone here at all. You know all of that though, still you say you will come with peace in your eyes, provision in your hands, and comfort on your lips. You ask me to trust you and not be afraid. You tell me to hold on to hope. I’m holding on.
I feel you here, sitting peacefully as if no time has passed. I hear you speak my name and it’s like there was never a gap in the conversation, yet I’m weeping because the distance has to have been so great. There was a chasm, I’m certain I felt it, but here you are and here I am, and there is nothing in between.
We are more than the sum of our hearts. I know this must be true. Allowing that math is a slap in the face to this now. Braving the fear of emptiness is the first step to being filled. Contentment lies in letting go.
A heavy heart is a cumbersome burden to bare, and the sorting of it’s contents the most grueling task to be undertaken. I find myself at a crossroads, wondering if the unpacking of it’s sorrows is of any real value. While I know that it’s only fear standing between misery and contentment, that fear is palpable and resolute. My memories, thick and brooding, hold firm to their grip on the beliefs that bend my reality to their purposes. Words with grave meanings hang like storm clouds in my mind, poised to unleash their torrential downpour at will.
Some hearts were meant to be soft. For us there is no possibility of genuinely “toughening up” over time so please stop asking us to do so. It’s not that we wouldn’t love to stop feeling like we just got punched in the gut on a regular basis, we just aren’t made that way. We may try to be cool and allow our known survival stories to provide us with a public image of strength and resilience. We may talk tough when we feel scared. We may act aloof under pressure. We may chatter and be comical to keep from revealing too much. In fact though, each time we open our hearts, only to have the contents scraped out like the flesh of a melon, we feel it just as excruciatingly as if it were the first. We are sensors, optimists, encouragers, and passionate lovers. Knowing you, being allowed to care, being trusted with your heart, that’s what moves us. We “care too much”, “give too readily”, “share too openly” and “love too quickly”. We are who we are though, and those of you who are strong protectors, with hearts like impenetrable shields, we need you so. We try to fight for ourselves, but it’s not our gift so we end up bruised and scarred beyond recognition. We are peaceful healers with unnecessary battle scars. At times we fight you, and you us. This should not be. Don’t be afraid to love and guard us. You need us too. We need you to acknowledge our fragility and not be so afraid of the tenderness it exposes in you. We are symbiotic beings, we humans. Somewhere along the way we decided that it was too exhausting to flow in, out, and through each other. What could be such a beautiful dance, is instead, simply us tripping over each other or worse yet, standing on opposite sides of the room. I’m weary of tripping around, having my toes stomped on; being held at arms length.
I’m tired of being told how strong I am by people who don’t understand that it’s only a mask. The expectation that my only takeaway from relational pain ought to be how to avoid it in the future by developing a thicker skin, is unbearably trite. I will always be soft. I will always be the one who sees the good in you, touches you more than you’re comfortable with, asks you what’s bothering you when no one else notices, cries for you when you can’t cry for yourself, and forgives you more times than others deem appropriate. All of that, and much more, is who I am. Some hearts were just meant to be soft.
Such stillness here in the dark. Silence is roaring, ocean like, in my ears. Exhaustion is begging me to be practical, but my thoughts are running, giggling children playing hide and seek. Perhaps the best thing to do is let them play. Eventually they’ll need a nap. Right?